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Manchester City vs. Chelsea was a brilliant showcase for WSL

Beth England’s spectacular goal only briefly appeared to turn the tide in one of the best matches of the season.

Beth England celebrates her goal against Manchester City

Beth England’s 30-yard strike very briefly looked as though it would be the decisive advantage in both Chelsea’s match against Manchester City and the Women’s Super League title race.

The swerve England managed to get on the ball and pulled it up and away from Ellie Roebuck’s desperate dive, giving Chelsea their first lead in a topsy-turvy game, and putting them on track to go ahead of City in the table with a game in hand.


The overall quality of WSL is ... mixed, at best. Too many teams have never seen real investment, and only serve as sometimes-spoilers for the big guns. But those big guns can be very impressive. In Arsenal, Chelsea and City, England boasts three teams that can go toe to toe with anyone in the world. When two of those clubs get together, games can get very interesting indeed.

We’ve now seen all six match permutations of that trio this season, and they’ve been by and large very good. The latest, however, was little short of spectacular, a slugfest between heavyweights that led to a mountain of goals and drama. This isn’t a match report, so we won’t go into detail, but there were goals, penalty misses, lead changes and botched chances galore. It was the sort of match that leaves everyone feeling like they’ve won and lost and also been attacked by some sort of meat tenderiser.

(England’s goal, which put Chelsea up, 3-2, in the 74th minute, was cancelled out by Lauren Hemp in the 76th. Like I said, briefly.)

That two teams locked in a tense title race can put together a match this lively is a brilliant advert for the league. In a sport when high-stakes matches frequently reduce themselves to attritional chores, Chelsea and City chose to damn any inconvenient torpedoes and go full speed ahead. In doing so, they put on a show that, in terms of pure entertainment, would comfortably hold its own against what the Premier League offered that weekend.

Both teams’ defending, according to their managers (and they’re right), was almost diabolically poor throughout, especially when you consider their usual level. But, who cares? It was fun. Ultimately, that’s what really counts.